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Apr 18, 2013

Clarke would relish Europa League

Steve Clarke says the domestic difficulties Newcastle have suffered amid their Europa League adventure this season will not diminish his desire to bring European football to West Bromwich Albion.

Clarke wants to add around four new players to the Hawthorns ranks in the summer to improve the club's chances of mounting a more serious challenge for a top-six finish next season, despite the pitfalls of added fixtures and travel that come with European competition.

Newcastle, eight points behind Albion, visit the Baggies this weekend, and Clarke said he would love to emulate them by testing himself and his players with the added demands next season.

"It can be tough in Europe, but I don't think anything should get in the way of your ambition," he said. "If you have a chance to qualify for the Europa League then that's what you should do, and you should take your chances like Newcastle did.

"They qualified for the quarter-finals, which was a great achievement. I've got some friends at Newcastle and I know they really enjoyed their Europa League adventure.

"They enjoyed the trips, the games and the challenges against players from different countries. Being wrapped into the whole European package is great.

"If you have the chance to do it as a coach, a player, a manager or a supporter, you have to try to do it and embrace it."

Albion's own challenge faltered since the turn of the year, but they still want to reach 50 points and set a new Premier League record point return to end Clarke's debut campaign on a high.

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